Kamala Das Biography
(1934– ), My Story, Summer in Calcutta, The Descendents, The Old Playhouse, Tonight, This Savage Rite
Indian writer, born in Malabar, India. Her autobiographical My Story (India, 1976; UK, 1978) is a highly introspective and subjective account of the creation and development of a woman poet. It is interspersed with some of Das's best verse. Famous, even notorious, for her poetic articulation of female sexuality and illicit passions, Das is actually a skilled chronicler of everyday experience, both emotive and perceptive. Her word-paintings of urban life are illuminated with images of the flux and change she perceives in India's streets. Das's collections of poetry include Summer in Calcutta (1965), The Descendents (1967), The Old Playhouse (1973), and Tonight, This Savage Rite (with Pritish Nandy, 1979). She has also experimented—albeit less successfully—with fiction in English (she is well known as a prose writer in her native Malayalam); a novel, Alphabet of Lust (1977), and a collection of short stories, A Doll for the Child Prostitute (1977), explore the hidden world of Indian sexuality.